Established in 1972, the GGNRA is a collection of landscapes in the San Francisco Bay Area. It would probably take a good week to explore everything this area has to offer. I visited this site on a family vacation to San Francisco in January of 2020.
I don’t have many photos of my first NPS site because I had no idea what I was doing but here are a couple shots of Alcatraz Island.
I remember the ferry and the island itself being very wheelchair accessible. There are some fairly large inclines so you’d be best with a motorized option. There is also a motorized tram that will bring you around the island.
It was at the tiny gift shop near the dock that this little beauty caught my eye.
I asked the gift shop attendant how it worked and she kindly directed me to the outdoor stamp table where I got my very first stamp.
My very first stamp! This stamp’s year was out of date so I settled for just Jan 11. I also got a special stamp commemorating the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz from 1969-1971. I later cannibalized this little stamp book as I outgrew it rather quickly.
Alcatraz has a fantastic self-guided audio tour but you can also request an American Sign Language interpreter to guide you through the park (with at least 3 weeks notice!).
I had a lot of mixed feelings visiting a prison site when we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The solitary confinement rooms were especially disturbing. I did appreciate the decision to highlight the Indian Occupation front and center. It is a story I never would have known had the NPS not taught me. (For a brief introduction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Alcatraz)
Alcatraz will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s where I bought my first passport book and got my first stamp. Definitely a must-do attraction if you are in San Francisco!
After Alcatraz, we also walked around the Golden Gate Bridge and were treated to some fantastic views. Fort Point is a civil war era fortification on the southside of the bridge. It is also a NPS site but it was closed when we were in the area.